October 3rd marked another year and another trip around the sun for me, so to celebrate in true Michele fashion, I packed my bags and headed to a bustling metropolis I’ve been yearning to visit since I moved to Texas: Dallas. Thanks to my Type A tendencies, it’s a longstanding tradition for me to devise an itinerary before embarking on trips, mainly to ensure I make the most of my stay, but also because I go crazy if I’m not able to plan every aspect of my vacation. Though this system has worked well for me in the past, I decided to approach things a little differently this time around. I really wanted to focus on letting go of the stresses of everyday life and being present in the moment, ergo relaxing was at the top of my to-do list.
Andrew, my boyfriend and road trip partner (despite the fact that he loathes road trips), came along for the ride, and I’m not in the slightest bit ashamed to report the majority of our time was spent lounging around. It was SO refreshing to be able to unwind and de-stress after a grueling work week. In our defense, we did spend the weekend in what might have been the most impeccably designed and remarkably comfortable Airbnb OF ALL TIME. Despite our lackadaisical efforts to be productive human beings, we made sure to check out some of the more popular sights and scenes around town, because if you don’t snap a clichè picture in front of the Dallas skyline, did you really even visit? While I’m certain I inevitably missed a few incredible spots that deserved to be on this list, here’s how I spent my 48 hours in Dallas.
The thought of staying in the heart of Dallas – ranked the 9th most populated metro area in the US as of 2016 – was a bit overwhelming for a small-town girl like myself, so our hunt for lodging primarily encompassed the areas north and south of downtown. I must have spent hours browsing through Airbnbs until I finally stumbled upon the one. I equate that glorious moment to an inquisitive child rummaging through a pile presents on Christmas morning, furiously unwrapping each and every one until at last, they find the most beautiful new toy; the one they had been waiting for all along. This modern-day masterpiece was truly one of the most stunning residences I had ever seen (and mind you, I watch a lot of HGTV).
There was no denying the charm of The Montclair House; from the french victorian decor to the baroque walk-in shower the size of my guest bedroom, everything about this home was swoon-worthy. The palatial guest house is located in the historical Winnetka Heights district, a quick 10-minute drive from downtown and nestled amongst a cluster of equally attractive homes, all boasting unique characteristics of their own. I could literally go on and on about how amazing our temporary humble abode was, but I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Photos courtesy of Airbnb.
For the record, I was not compensated in any way for staying at this particular home. But it was cozy, spacious, and beautifully embellished, thus I feel compelled to let the world know how wonderful it was.
I pretty much crave tacos 24/7, so after
driving past a few sketchy locations careful deliberation and some assistance from Google Maps, we found a highly rated Mexican restaurant just a few minutes away from our Airbnb. If loving Tex Mex is wrong, I don’t want to be right. After I somehow managed to devour an entire plate of enchiladas about 2x the size of my head, I came to the conclusion that this was, hands down, the best Mexican food I’ve consumed in Texas. To make the dining experience even more authentic and enjoyable, they brought in a live Mariachi band who proceeded to migrate from table to table providing music for guests. In summary, El Ranchito did not disappoint. 10/10 would definitely return here.
The Standard Pour
Walking lengthy distances in the beaming hot sun typically makes one hungry (and in dire need of some air conditioning), so we opted to stop in at The Standard Pour for a mid-afternoon snack. I may have prematurely judged this place – it is a bar, after all – but the food was incredible. As I scarfed down my caesar salad, my go-to meal these days, Andrew sat next to me in the booth, sipping on a gin and tonic and gazing at football on one of the many TVs located around the bar. Love all around. Oh, and there’s a pretty snazzy mural on the back wall that makes for a prime photo op, curated by LIKEtoKNOW.it.
Photo courtesy of Uptown Dallas
Bocce Italian Kitchen
In the spirit of being transparent, I have mixed feelings about this one. As a pasta aficionado, I get overly excited whenever the prospect of Italian food gets brought up, so naturally, I had pretty high expectations for Bocce Italian Kitchen. After a few minutes of thoroughly probing the menu in search of drinks, we were taken aback to find out that the establishment is BYOB – bring your own booze. Not a huge deal, but slightly disappointing as I had been looking forward to enjoying a glass of their most saccharine white wine with my meal. But moving on. We ordered our food, and about 20 minutes after our appetizers had been presented to us, our server prodded back over to the table to relay that they had forgotten to put our order in. He then assured us that our entire meal would be free, and at that point, neither of us cared about the delay because we felt that comping the food was a very kind gesture. Fast forward to dinner. The food was average at best, and when the server later returned to our table with our check, we were shocked to find that we were charged full price for everything. Not a fan.
The JFK Assassination Spot and Memorial
Standing in the exact spot that John Fitzgerald Kennedy was shot and killed was surreal. I can’t possibly imagine what was going through the heads of the spectators in the crowd on that fateful afternoon in 1963, but my best guess would be fear and horror. There were two X’s marked in the road – one for each instance he was shot – and both were swarmed by scores of people when we came by to see it. We didn’t have time to visit The Sixth Floor Museum, but I’ve been told it offers a plethora of information on both the incident and the historical significance of the building. A few blocks north of the museum stands a massive monument dedicated to John F. Kennedy himself. The cenotaph, a simple, yet beautiful piece of architecture, symbolizes the freedom of John F. Kennedy and provides a quiet refuge for one to go pay respects to the late president.
This was my absolute favorite part of the trip. We happened to be visiting during Autumn at the Arboretum, and my goodness, was it spectacular! In addition to thousands of vibrant flowers on display throughout the gardens, the Dallas Arboretum erected a Pumpkin Village built to mimic The Wizard of Oz, featuring over 9,000 pumpkins, a replica of Auntie Em’s house, and of course, a yellow brick road. The pumpkin-lad Oz village offered a great time for adults and children alike, as well as a myriad of photo ops throughout the pseudo town. Did I take advantage of all of them? You bet!
The Belmont Hotel
Four words: best views in Dallas. We stumbled upon this gem our first night in town, and I was mesmerized by the breathtaking views of the skyline. There’s also a small bar inside, which is always a plus.
Bishop Arts District
This lively shopping and entertainment district may only span a couple of blocks, but don’t let its size fool you. Whether you love to shop (me), eat (also me), drink, or appreciate colorful street art, the Bishop Arts District truly has it all. Somehow I came, saw, and conquered without buying a single thing (who even am I?), but I do wish I would’ve taken more pictures of this charming little locale, because there were SO many wonderful art murals adorning the roads. For a comprehensive list of all the shops the Bishop Arts District has to offer, head over to their official website.
Considering we only had 48 hours to spend in Dallas, I think we did a pretty decent job covering as much ground as we could. How many of you guys have been to Dallas? Did I miss any pivotal sights/restaurants that should have been on this list? Let me know in the comments! Happy Monday!